Business

Small Actions Make A Big Impact

This company that I visited does everything with excellence, and when I say everything… I mean everything.  They even care about the details so much, that their yard where they have all of their equipment looked like perfection with each truck and trailer lined up perfectly.  As some would say “There is a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place.”

Being mindful of the details didn’t just stop with the equipment in the yard.  Part of the reason I visited exactly when I did is because part of the process for them to deliver our product involves cross docking and loading trucks from various origin points.  Not only did they make this whole scenario look effortless, they made sure that as they were moving the product from one place to the next, that all the lids where on just right, that the plastic wrap didn’t look like hell, that pallets were in good shape, that the trailers were clean, and that everything looked at its best.

 

I know what I just described seems like a simple task, but it truly isn’t.  If it was, there would never be refused product for boxes looking like hell or that fell over because of a weak wrap job, or broken pallet shards all over a once clean trailer.  It’s these small actions of being mindful of ALL the details that make the biggest difference.  In talking with this company about all of this, they talked about their why behind it all.  “If the product looks nice and in place, when the doors are opened up for it to be inspected, it puts the inspector at ease and makes the process go more smoothly.  Not only that, the buyers hear about it and potentially start buying more of your product because it is consistently in great shape.  If they buy more of your product, you will need more trucks to ship it and everyone wins.”

It is a simple philosophy, but one that is truly overlooked time and time again.  It’s also a philosophy that takes humility and a heart of service to execute well.

What are the small actions that you can make within your day to day operations that will have a big impact and increase business?

Business

Keep Pressing Forward: A Simple Truth To Remember

 

Sometimes it’s the simple truths that have the biggest impact, yet it’s those same truths that seem to slip from our mind time and time again.

As I was reading one of my favorite bloggers / idea-guy’s, Jon “The Mythic Man” Acuff, he mentioned a simple truth that has been sticking with me ever since.  “Where you are is just for now… it’s not forever.”  In reading this, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  As I have been mulling this truth over in my mind a couple of examples started to form.

The first is with my kids. My wife and I are in an extremely tough season with whiney kids, whom we love dearly, that have so much energy and always seem to be hungry.  There are times we ask ourselves, “Do you think we will miss this stage?”  We always answer yes with the understanding that we won’t miss all the whining, but we will miss this stage of life that is so precious and innocent.  Soon and very soon we will blink our eyes and they will be in middle school with acne on their face. Then we will blink again and they will be in college and swooning over their “true loves.”  We will blink once more and they will be out on their own, carrying on the Stippich legacy and possibly have their own families.  As I said, where we are is just for now… it’s not forever.  

The other example is with my job.  I love getting to partner with so many people and have so many conversations about all sorts of topics.  I am also an avid learner and consumer of content which has helped me have better conversations with those I interact with.  Is my job perfect, heck no, but it has offered me unbelievable experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  In moments where I may be frustrated at my current standing, I go back to the simple truth that where I am is just for now…It’s not forever.  I have no idea how long I will be with my current company, but what I do know is that I am going to act as if it’s for 30 years, yet hold it loosely for whatever opportunity comes my way.  

 We all need to take a moment to breath in those moments of stress and realize that they won’t last forever.  Remember, that as long as you are learning and growing, pressing into relationships, and preparing yourself for the next opportunity, wherever you are is just for now…it’s not forever. 

Community

Stop Sending DM’s In LinkedIn:

I think a lot of people could benefit from following the advice from the title of this post: Stop sending DM’s in LinkedIn.  Most of the time people send really crappy messages just going straight for the kill and asking for the close, or as a put it in another post, the marriage proposal.

Please for the love of all things good and holy, stop furthering this issue and make sure that you don’t just send a blast of DM’s via LinkedIn or any other social media platform asking for business.  Sure, you may get a random person positively responding, but then I would also ask why were they so willing to work with a random stranger.  What we need to do is forget the ask all together and see how we can best interact with that individual.  If they are posting lots of content on LinkedIn, start interacting with them there. If they are not posting anything on that platform, see if they are engaged elsewhere and find out where they are most active.  It is the craziest thing for you to keep trying to contact someone in the same way even after the fact they haven’t responded to your first fifteen tries. 

No matter how you eventually connect with someone, don’t let the first interaction be a big ask, because your relational bank is empty is instantly overdrawn, and no one likes the feeling of being overdrawn.  Take your time, relationships don’t happen overnight, but over a lifetime. 

Helpful Hints

How To Get Past The Gatekeeper

Ahhhh the infamous gatekeeper. The holder of the keys and the bosses schedule.  The one who decides who gets to go beyond the proverbial curtain and see the wizard… too much?  Gatekeepers, we all know them, we all struggle with them at times, and in fact, at some point or another we all are one of them.  Gatekeepers are an integral part of companies and when they do their job well, they save the person they work with a lot of wasted time and effort.

The question to ask yourself, especially in sales, is how do you get past the gatekeeper, especially when there is one of those convenient no soliciting signs?  

What I have seen and experienced work best is when we create a point of connection.  To do that, you need to be incredibly observant of your surroundings and the non-verbal cues that individual is giving.  To create a point of connection, as you are walking up to that persons desk and starting a conversation, you need to see if there is anything that can be a connection that you can talk about.  If there is a picture of their dog on the desk, you can start bringing up their pet and ask questions.  You also need to have questions prepared that will help you to go beyond the surface and get you some real information.  What I mean is that you don’t just want to find out the dogs name, you also want to see if it has a favorite toy or treat.  Once you are loaded with that information, as you follow up with that office again in a couple weeks, you come in to talk to Carol about her dog and you hand her a present for her fur baby that ends up being their favorite kind of toy.  As you begin creating this good will and influence with this individual, you are making lots of relational deposits so that when you eventually go for the ask, it doesn’t feel like much of a draw on the relationship because you have already given so much.

If there are not any pictures to draw some data from, you have to be armed with some general questions that will lead to uncommon commonalities.  Not only that, you have to realize that surprisingly enough, they don’t want to spend all day with you.  That being said, getting past the gatekeeper takes time.  As you focus on forming a genuine connection instead of getting past them, opportunities to do just that will start to pop up.  Maybe instead of dropping off just your business card, you stop on by with a handful of gift cards for a local restaurant or coffee shop for the gatekeeper to use and share with others in the office.  Maybe you bring by handwritten thank you cards.  Maybe you don’t go straight for the person who you eventually need to meet, but instead you start to meet other people of influence at the company like the people who run the warehouse.  Remember, the person you think you need to meet may not actually be the one to get you the business.  

Think about doing business differently and start thinking about how you can form common points of connection that just may lead to the opportunity for you to make a sale.

Helpful Hints

In Sales, You Are Never The Hero:

I was recently having a talk with a friend, who is a carrier, when he brought up a predicament he was in.  He said he could think of about 4-5 potential customers that he couldn’t get beyond a certain point.  With each of these relationships he was forming, he didn’t know if he should continue pressing into them, put his focus elsewhere, or go straight to the head decision maker.  I am sure this scenario may be sounding familiar to you, especially if you are in sales.  There could be a million and one reasons why these individuals he was talking to kept on pushing the decision down the road or were not even bringing up the solutions that he was offering to their boss.  Whatever those reasons may be, figuring out how to get over this obstacle is crucial.

The only way, I repeat, the only way you can get over this obstacle is by making that individual you are talking with the hero.  That person needs to be the hero of their company that helped save $100,000.  That person needs to be the hero that brought the solution that solved all of shippings issues.  That person needs to be the hero that came up with the idea to simplify the supply chain.  As a salesman, if you want to get to the decision maker, you need to make that initial contact look like a hero to their boss.

You need to change the way you bring up those great little facts about your company.  That individual that is keeping you from getting to the next step honestly doesn’t care that you are saving them money, time, effort, or the fact that you are almost always on time.  That person does care however that you are giving them the opportunity to let there boss know that they just saved their company $100,000 over the course of the year as the markets are tightening up and most companies spend is going up by 15%, or that their end customers will have a better experience of service and as their trust grows in the company, they will end up purchasing more product, which means more sales.You need to learn to start framing facts so that the potential customer is the hero.  Remember, you are there to make them… look… good.  

What if, after all of this, they still don’t bring your proposal to the real decision maker?  You need to frame this next part carefully.  You need to show empathy for their situation and ask them if you can go directly to the decision maker yourself.  You need to see if you could email or call that person directly, BUT before you go ahead and do that, you need to learn how to frame whatever you are about to say in such a way that still makes the initial contact look like a hero to their company.  You can’t call the real decision maker and talk down about your initial contact.  That is a sure fire way to never get the business.  You also shouldn’t just go over their head because the story that may end up being told about you to the real decision maker may be one that is fabricated and keeps you from ever getting the business.

No matter which route you choose, you need to make that initial contact look like an absolute hero to their company.  If you can do that, and you make it to the real decision maker, you will start to close on more deals and earn more customers.